Sweet Swede or Nasty Neeps?

Swede (shortened from “Swedish turnips”) is another vegetable suffering from bad press – the forgotten mush with Christmas dinner, or the ‘neeps from “tatties and neeps” to accompany haggis on “Burn’s Night” for our Scottish friends (or rutabaga to our friends over the sea). One of the numerous Cabbage family, it has such prestigious cousins as broccoli and pak-choi, but is more aligned with its step-brother the turnip (Rapifera group1).


In traditional Chinese medicine, Swede is regarded as being sweet/bitter/pungent in flavour, and neutral in temperature, and because of this mix of flavours is thought to not only strengthen digestion (Spleen/Pancreas Qi) and Blood, but also help to move Qi and Blood, and clear Phlegm and Dampness from the body. What a mixture! They are especially good for the very depleted, and make a good alternative to potatoes2.


They combine naturally with carrots, and along with most of the yellow and orange vegetables, they are naturally high in vitamin E3, a powerful anti-oxidant (well carotenoids, but who can remember names like that?)



Why not try making a hearty Suede Soup?


Brown off a chopped onion and clove of garlic. Add a diced swede, and 2 carrots, 2 cm ginger (scraped and diced), 1 tsp honey, 3.5 cups of stock and ¼ cup of cream. Season well with lots of pepper, a good pinch of salt, and as much grated nutmeg as you dare. Boil until the swede is soft (20 mins) and blend smooth. Yum yum.



  1. Index of Garden Plants, Mark Griffiths, Macmillan Press, ISBN 0-333-59149-6: P167
  2. Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford, North Atlantic Books, ISBN 1-55463-221-6: p52
  3. Vitamin and Mineral Requirements in Human Nutrition – World Health Organization2004; ISBN: 92 4 154612 3


Please note: This information is for your information only, and is not meant as medical advice – always seek the advice of a health professional. The author accepts no responsibility for the consequences of the use of the information, or for any liability arising therefrom.